FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information:
Contact Mallory Webster, Communications Manager
217-457-4600 [email protected]
Contact Danille Curtis, Iowa Coordinator
515-351-1166 [email protected]
Midwest Mission Opens New Location in Jefferson, Iowa
On Saturday, June 17, Midwest Mission staff and volunteers celebrated the opening of its new location in Jefferson, Iowa. Special guests in attendance included Iowa UMC Director of Connectional Ministry, Bill Poland, Iowa Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, members of Jefferson First UMC, Jefferson Matters, and the Greene County Development Committee who is the lessor of the building.
Midwest Mission in Jefferson, Iowa is now open for volunteer shifts Monday through Thursday from 8:30am-4pm. To sign up for a shift, volunteers can go to midwestmission.org/iowa or call Reservation Specialist, Pat Wright, at 217-697-4063.
The front of the Iowa location has a gift shop, Midwest Mission Gifts, that has faith-based gifts, Midwest Mission apparel, and fair trade items. The store will be open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, and Saturday 9am-12pm.
The Jefferson location will take in donations, make Midwest Mission Kits, Sleeping Mats, and Rice Meals, do sewing projects, and distribute some supplies locally. Most items will be driven to the Midwest Mission headquarters in Illinois for national and international distribution, working together to live out the ministry’s mission: bringing the hearts and hands of God’s people together to transform resources into humanitarian relief.
“We just want to say a big thank you to everyone who prayed for this new opportunity, to those who dedicated their time, money, and resources, and those who let God continue to lead us to this new adventure,” Chantel Corrie, Executive Director, said. “The Holy Spirit is alive and active in this ministry. We hope you can join us at one of our locations soon.”
God was working in and through Midwest Mission to create the Iowa location. God sped up the timeline, and within six months of what was supposed to be the start of a feasibility study period, God put the right people in place, and the doors were opened to the new facility. Bishop Kennetha shared, “the Holy Spirit did the feasibility study for Midwest Mission.”
Last year, Midwest Mission sent $7.99 million to those in need, serving 1.6 million people in the process. In addition to a second volunteer location in Jefferson, Midwest Mission has added several permanent collection sites in Illinois and nearby states, such as Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
The Jefferson, Iowa location started as a Permanent Collection Site at Jefferson First United Methodist Church that Danille and her husband, Kent, helped coordinate. “In 2019, my family, my two daughters and my husband and I, went to the main location,” Curtis said. “We served out there for a few days, and instantly, we just felt called, like this was something that God had put on our hearts and we wanted to do more.” From there, Curtis and her family continued to do projects with Midwest Mission and visiting the Illinois location.
On one visit, Danille had seen MM was looking for a new Communications Manager and inquired about the position. She still had daughters in high school at the time, so a move wasn’t possible and the position needed to be in-person. But, Corrie saw the growth of support in Iowa with the Iowa Annual Conference Ingathering partnership and created the first off-site coordinator position in Iowa which Danille filled. Her duties include speaking at churches and organizations, and coordinating in-kind donation pick-ups and deliveries.
After the COVID pandemic, Jefferson UMC was no longer using their Sunday School classrooms and began thinking of ways to use the space. In fall 2022, Jefferson First United Methodist Church began hosting Midwest Mission volunteer days in those rooms. “It became pretty apparent that we were going to outgrow that space really quickly,” Curtis said. “We were getting a lot of interest each time we posted volunteer opportunity days.” With the help of Danille’s family and dedicated volunteer leaders Brett and Kristi Ahrens and Bill and Connie Ridgley, Iowa Board member Alaire Willits and the rest of Midwest Mission’s Board of Directors, the Iowa site became a reality.
Midwest Mission is a faith-based non-profit organization that works to provide humanitarian aid both domestically and internationally in the areas of disaster relief, education, health and micro business. Midwest Mission was founded by United Methodist Pastor Jack Travelstead and commissioned by the Illinois Great Rivers Conference in 1999 with $100,000 seed money. The location right outside of Springfield, Illinois opened in 2000 to create a place where needed resources could be brought together and sent to those in crisis to actively be the hands and feet of Jesus.
The 200+ attendees at Saturday’s event had the opportunity to pack rice meal bags and weave sleeping mats. This new location will also be a place for people to donate medical supplies, fire equipment, bicycles and sewing machines, among other items. A complete list of what Midwest Mission accepts can be found at their website, www.midwestmission.org. Donations can be brought to this site during its regular hours or by appointment.
Midwest Mission’s operations happen almost entirely by donations and relies upon a large volunteer-base to carry out its operations. In 2022, 1,238 on-site volunteers and 4,230 off-site volunteers served with the organization, totaling 39,550 hours of volunteer-work donated. Lisa Rigoni, Development Manager, acknowledged that Midwest Mission’s volunteers have an impact on those they serve. “You never know whose lives you’re touching,” Rigoni said.
Although the organization is guided by its Christian values, it emphasizes that all are welcome to volunteer. “We pray over every pallet that is put together, we pray over every shipment as it leaves, and to see volunteers surrounding all of that, it’s amazing,” Rigoni said. “They get to see their work, the things that they’ve done all day, and then it gets to go out.”
Moving forward, Midwest Mission hopes to continue expanding, creating additional collection sites and volunteer locations. “We’re excited for the future and how we can help grow the Jefferson volunteer community, the church, and the services we provide. We continue to get more effective, efficient, and sustainable at showing God’s love by providing tangible resources to make and intangible difference around the world and around the corner,” Corrie stated.